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Alaska On-Site Consumption Bill Awaiting Lt. Governor’s Signature

Medical Cannabis

The Marijuana Control Board has finally approved regulations for on-site marijuana consumption in Alaska. All that’s needed now is Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer’s signature. The forms needed for businesses to apply for these special endorsements were approved on February 20.

Some amendments may be needed in the future as local governments weigh in, according to Anchorage Daily News. The Alaska Department of Law reviewed the paperwork and the items were forwarded onto the Lt. Governor. Meyer’s office has only had the approved regulations since February 28.

It’s not known how long it will take, or if Meyer will sign the regulations into law. If he does, the regulations would be effective 30 days later. Once approvals take place, businesses can apply for those special endorsements.

The debate regarding onsite consumption was heated. Since Alaska gets a lot of visitors from cruise ships, those visitors need somewhere to consume their legal purchases. Cruise ships don’t permit the consumption of cannabis in any form.

Mark Woodward, co-owner of Stoney Moose, said, “People will buy an edible and walk outside and open it up and pop it in their mouth.”

Woodward has wanted an onsite consumption space for some time. His establishment is already suited for a dedicated area. There are a couple of elements in the way though – the law requires that businesses with onsite consumption spaces to be a freestanding building. To get around that, Stoney Moose would use its covered deck space with proper ventilation.

Woodward said, “We have a deck that…would be perfect. It overlooks a salmon stream. We’re going to ventilate the deck. We have all these plants, but it’s just this unknown of, can you have a freestanding building? Down here in Ketchikan, you just don’t.”

Some areas of Alaska aren’t abundant with freestanding buildings – Ketchikan being one of those areas.

If a business wants to allow the onsite consumption of edibles only – the freestanding building clause would not apply. Separate endorsements may become available for those that want to permit smoking and those that want to allow only edibles consumption.

Board Chairman Mark Springer said, “We’re approving this, but it’s still going to be a work in progress, so would it be fair to say that if people in industry, people in government, have got thoughts on what all should be included in this, what would clarify it for local government, what industry might think … that they can either throw it in the marijuana mailbox or flag comments on this and it will be administratively considered. Partly that’s because this continues to be a high-interest issue.”